Commando Helicopter Force

Discussion in 'The Fleet Air Arm' started by cfx123, Aug 11, 2016.

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  1. I have been looking at Aircrewman in the Royal Navy and Weapon Systems Operator (Loadmaster) in the RAF. I really don't know which one to go for? After researching both, I have read good and bad things about both.

    I want to go for the one which is more exiting and interesting, where everyday brings something new, also I want to travel a lot so, which would be the one which would involve me travelling around the world more?

    Another questions is, do Royal Navy Aircrewman get deployed to war zones? E.g - Afghanistan? As I know that RAF Aircrew do but do Royal Navy aircrew?

    I know Aircrew is a hard thing to get into, so if I didn't get in for some reason, what are other jobs in the forces I should perhaps look into?
  2. Part and parcel of being in the Armed Forces no matter what your role is I would have thought.
  3. You're asking a question about the RN or the RAF on a Navy Forum :rolleyes:

    Let me think......

    RN and RAF aircrew were in the Stan.

    RN aircrew are loaned to RAF units

    RN Aircrew are not as camp a Christmas (well not all of them) and don't spend as much time in Hotels.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2016
  4. Trainer

    Trainer War Hero Book Reviewer

    I've done both (ground trades admittedly). Fly Navy.

    RAF uniform is Gay to a high extent. Once you've had Black you can't go back...
  5. I don't want to not go into one just because "the outfit is gay", and I'm a girl anyway so might look good on me hahaha ;), but do you seriously think that the Navy was better? I just feel put off due to reading things about the Navy on the internet, although I do know not everything on the internet is true.
  6. Why? What have you been reading?

    You may also wish to revise the above post with:

  7. Ask the same question on E Goat and compare the answers
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  8. Tut tut JFH - EGoat is no more. Lack of use (and interest).
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  9. Trainer

    Trainer War Hero Book Reviewer

    So perish all my enemies....bwah..ha...ha...ha.... ha....

    Next...the Red Arrows....:mad:
    • Funny Funny x 4
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  10. Small error, but I forgive you.
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  11. And I though today was going to be shite!!! Now that's made mine :)
  12. @vf21,

    I've also posted this in answer to your same question in ARRSE so apologies if you get both.

    Any military aircrew flying is demanding and exciting and you will see a lot of the World and a lot of ops. That said, let me offer an RAF perspective:

    Firstly, the RAF do not recruit WSOp (Crewmen/Loadmasters) per se. Instead, you would join as a WSOp, conduct basic recruit training at RAF Halton and Non-Commissioned Aircrew (NCA) training at RAF College Cranwell. The latter is an extremely demanding course but culminates in the award of acting Sgt rank.

    You would then stay on at Cranwell to conduct initial aircrew training prior to 'streaming' (personal preference is considered but service need is paramount) to one of the following WSOp specialisations:

    WSOp(Crewman). Used on RAF Support Helicopters (Chinook, Puma HC2 and Griffin), C-17, A400M, C-130J, BAe146, and Voyager for load management and, in the case of RW, gunnery (Voyager WSOps also operate the AAR system and procedures). There is plenty of requirement for both rotary and fixed wing guys given the expansion of our Chinook and AT fleets.

    WSOp(Electronic Warfare (EW)). Used on the RAF ISR fleet to operate a variety of sensors and weapons systems. WSOp(EW) primarily serve on E-3D AWACS, Sentinel, Shadow, RC-135 RIVET JOINT (RJ) and MQ-9 Reaper. The procurement of P-8 and Protector will see a significant increase in demand for WSOp(EW).

    WSOp(Acoustics (Ac)). Formerly employed almost exclusively on our Nimrod MR2 and MRA4 to deploy, operate and analyse acoustic data from air dropped sonobuouys, the loss of MPA has seen this specialisation in limbo. Many have crosstrained onto WSOp(EW), notably on the E-3D and Reaper. Others are currently serving as our MPA 'Seedcorn' with the USN (P-3C, P-8, MQ-4C, RQ-21 and a number of ground jobs), RAAF (AP-3C), RNZAF (P-3K2) and RCAF (CP-140). However, the P-8 will again dictate a significant increase in WSOp(Ac).

    WSOp (Linguist (L)). Language specialists recruited seperately to other WSOp specialisations for employment on our RC-135 RJ.

    If you opt for the RAF, your timing couldn't be better as (assuming SDSR15 plans survive Brexit fallout) there is shortly going to be an enormous increase in aircrew recruitment. However, the likelihood is that you'll initially be streamed WSOp(EW) or WSOp(Ac) rather than Crewman as it's our ISR fleets which will be expanding most rapidly.

    With the exception of Reaper and Protector RPAS (for obvious reasons), you will go all around the World in any of the above types. Equally, if you do serve on Reaper (we don't send first tourists to it), you may be posted to Creech AFB near Las Vegas! The nature of travel will be dependent on what type you end up on.

    Fixed Wing Crewmen tend to go to a huge variety of places but only for one or 2 days, much of which will be in crew rest. Rotary crewmen typically deploy for 4-6 months at a stretch. ISR aircrew tend to deploy to locations for 2-8 weeks at a time several times a year. Everyone typically does 4-6 months away per year on ops and exercises.

    As an indication of the travel associated with an RAF fixed wing ISR sqn, during my flying career, I've visited Italy, Norway, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Cyprus, Greece, Poland, Canada, the USA (notably Vegas, Hawaii, New Orleans, Langley, and Alaska), Puerto Rico, Ascension Island, South Africa, Bahrein, Malaysia, Australia, America Samoa, Kuwait, Oman, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, a few places best not mentioned here! In most of those cases, I deployed for weeks or months at a time so managed to explore a bit.

    In contrast, RN aircrew will probably spend more time away per year and naval flying is arguably the most challenging around. You will obviously visit lots of countries while embarked. However, in my experience the aircraft tend not to stray far from the ship so aircrew may not always see much beyond the ports visited. Swings and roundabouts.

    I would say the biggest difference is that the RAF is first and foremost about flying. Therefore, there is inevitably a far greater variety of aircraft types, roles and aircrew specialisations than found in the Fleet Air Arm. Indeed, transfer between WSOp specialisations (other than WSOp(L)) is increasingly common during careers. Moreover, there are exceptionally good opportunities to be commissioned as a Weapons Systems Officer (WSO). A disproportionate number of WSOps also transfer to pilot although I will stress that this is in competition with direct entrants from civvy street.

    In summary, if you want the greatest variety of flying opportunities, join the RAF. If you want to fly in helicopters, go RN. Ultimately, you'll enjoy - and become fiercely loyal to - whichever service you decide to join.

    My advice would be to research the aircraft operated by each service and their roles. Then get yourself on some visits through the AFCO; the RAF run WSOp acquaintance days at Cranwell and Waddington and I assume the RN do similar events.

    Best of British!

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  13. Couldn't have put the above any better myself.

    Having been in a similar situation to yourself, OP, it's a toughie to decide. However, the way I look at it - the Navy does offer you the opportunity to fly purely as a Crew member in a Helo more so than potentially the RAF would.

    I'm not in the Mil, but as I say - I'm going through the process at the moment as a RN Aircrewman.

    Best of luck

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  14. I am going to sign up to the Royal Navy as Aircrew, I really didn't know whether to go into the RAF as aircrew or the Royal Navy, and I still don't but ive decided to go for the Royal Navy in the hopes that it would be the better opportunity for more travel around the world, I hope I'm right and enjoy the Royal Navy, I'm thinking of, if I get in, going into the Commando Helicopter Force.

    Anyway, say I got in, and did 6 years or however long, and enjoyed the job (flying, Aircrew) but didn't like the Royal Navy for whatever reason, could I transfer to the RAF as Aircrew? or would I have to leave the Royal Navy then apply to the RAF and do the whole application process again?
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  15. I think I'm going to be sick, this is a wind up isn't it :eek:
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  16. no why? what makes you think its a windup?
  17. one of the few.jpg Stay Navy....;)
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  18. If it isn't then first wash yer mouth out, second apply for the RAF and thirdly start buying Brycreme.
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  19. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    It's up to the individual if they wish to leave and join another service after they complete training and the minimum return of service, prior to submitting notice.

    CHF tend to prefer Commando trained aircrew & whilst it is theoretically feasible for RN personnel to serve as aircrewmen employed within CHF, they are few and far between.

    RAF aircrewmen earn more rapid promotion, so I'm advised, however most RN aircrewmen, apart from this particular gripe, appear to be happy with their lot & choose not to leave to join the RAF.
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  20. Untrue about the preference in the commando role having to be commando, Navy stand EQUAL chance of being a commando aircrewman.

    In the Merlin transition from RAF to Navy we only lost one crewman and that was down to location preferences.

    Standby for changes on the common gripe.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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